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Inclusion Desk

The Inclusion Desk is a multi-platform reporting effort by WXXI News to inform and transform attitudes and behavior about inclusion. The Inclusion Desk grew from the Move to Include partnership between WXXI and the Golisano Foundation. Through programming and special events, WXXI and the Golisano Foundation look to build a more inclusive community by inspiring and motivating people to embrace different abilities and include all people in every aspect of community life.

Monroe County Sheriff's Dept.

Rochester City Court Judge Caroline Morrison has recused herself from a case regarding the attack of an autistic teen, claiming her continued involvement may spark public perception of bias and confusion.

Morrison made her announcement in court Friday, after the accused, 57-year-old Martin MacDonald of Pittsford, pleaded not guilty to a second-degree harassment charge. 

“I think it’s appropriate that this case start over with a new judge,” Morrison said.

In this special episode of Second Opinion LIVE, we talk about Down Syndrome. One in every 691 babies in the U.S. is born with Down Syndrome, making it the most common genetic condition. Approximately 400,000 Americans have Down Syndrome, and about 6,000 babies are born with the condition each year.

Kids with Down Syndrome face unique challenges as they transition from childhood to adulthood. We talk to a mother and son, and a pediatrician about what caregivers can do to help young people with Down Syndrome successfully transition into adult life. Our guests:

  • Valerie Rosenhoch, Down Syndrome advocate, and David’s mom
  • David Rosenhoch, self-advocate
  • Dr. Stephen Sulkes, professor of pediatrics at the University of Rochester Medical Center

This hour of Connections is part of the Second Opinion LIVE webcast series and also WXXI’s Inclusion Desk, spotlighting issues related to disabilities. The WXXI Inclusion Desk is part of Move to Include, a partnership to encourage thoughtful discussion about issues of inclusion and the differently-abled.

TWC News

Members of the Rochester community are forming groups and speaking out following the alleged assault of Chase Coleman.

The autistic teen from Syracuse was running with his school’s cross country team in Cobbs Hill Park on October 14, when 57-year old Martin McDonald of Pittsford allegedly got out of his car, approached Coleman and shoved him to the ground.

"It hit us right in the gut in a really profound kind of way," said Lauren Hall.

TWC News

Rochester Police officers are reaching out to a Syracuse area teen who was the victim of an alleged assault last month at Cobb's Hill Park.

The incident involving a non-verbal autistic teenager on October 14th has garnered national attention.

According to his mother and eyewitnesses, 15-year-old Chase Coleman was participating in a cross country run at Cobb's Hill Park, when a middle-aged, Rochester-area man got out of his car, approached Coleman during the race and shoved him to the ground.

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Syracuse city councilwoman, Susan Boyle, is questioning the Monroe County District Attorney's office about why there was no arrest in the alleged attack of a non-verbal, autistic teen.

According to his mother and eyewitnesses, 15-year-old Chase Coleman was participating in a cross country run at Cobb's Hill Park on October 14, when a middle-aged, Rochester-area man got out of his car, approached Coleman during the race and shoved him to the ground.

Boyle sent a letter to the DA's office requesting an explanation, after a warrant application for the man's arrest was denied.

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — An investigation of state employees stealing from developmentally disabled people in their care has prompted a call for better oversight by the agency overseeing group homes for the disabled.

New York State Inspector General Catherine Leahy Scott says Thursday that her investigation found a widespread pattern of "preying on a vulnerable population by those charged with their care."

Alex Crichton

Some people who need a service or emotional support animal have been denied housing.

That's according to the Commissioner of the New York State Division of Human Rights, Helen Diane Foster.

She says such animals are a protected class and denying housing on that basis is discrimination.

State officials joined local advocates at a forum today at the Strong in Rochester.

Foster says in regard to housing, 'no pet' clauses don't pertain to a support animal.

State lawmakers with disabled children, along with people with developmental disabilities and their caregivers, rallied Monday at the State Capitol for more money in the budget to pay caregivers a living wage. 

Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the Legislature approved a gradual minimum wage increase to $15 an hour downstate and $12.50 an hour upstate, saying mega-companies like McDonald’s and Burger King can afford to pay their workers more.

SASHA-ANN SIMONS/ WXXI NEWS

A Rochester doctor received the first Golisano Health Leadership Award on Thursday, for his decades-long career helping medically underserved communities.

Dr. Steve Sulkes, a professor of pediatrics at Golisano Children’s Hospital, works with children with developmental and behavioral challenges. Sulkes has also focused extensively on increasing access to healthcare for people with intellectual disabilities.

The Unified Sports program is growing in Western New York, but many of us are not familiar with the initiative.

Our guests explain how "unified" means inclusion, and how the program is impacting hundreds of students locally. You can watch a video of the program in action at Gates Chili High School and Spencerport High School. Our guests:

  • Billy Harmon, senior at Gates Chili High School, and student athlete with Unified basketball
  • Michael Saporito, tenth grader at Gates Chili High School, and student athlete with Unified basketball
  • Kimberle Ward, superintendent of Gates Chili Central School District
  • Tray Burton, Unified basketball coach at Edison Career and Technology High School in the Rochester City School District
  • Mike Murray, athletic director for Churchville-Chili Central School District
  • Dennis Fries, past president and current liaison to Unified basketball with Section V

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